The Anthracite Coal Situation

January 1, 1929

Report Outline
Anthracite Production and Prices
The Inroads of Competitive Fuels
The Movement Toward Mechanized Heating
Anthracite's Effort to Meet Competition
Economic Position of the Anthracite Producers
Status of the Miners' Union in Anthracite
Special Focus

Five years ago the United States Coal Commission reported to Congress that anthracite was a “natural monopoly.” Hard coal was produced by an industry in which there could be no free competition under the laws of supply and demand “because the supply is limited and controlled.” Eight large companies, then affiliated with but now separated from the anthracite carrying railroads, produced 74 per cent of the total output and controlled 90 per cent of the un-mined coal. Discussion of restoring competition between these big companies the Coal Commission regarded as academic. The real question was whether the service they gave was satisfactory and whether their prices were fair. The existing situation, the commission said, was one in which increases in price could readily be passed on to the consumer-up to a point where the price would become prohibitive and the public would turn to substitute fuels. The Coal Commission recommended two principal legislative measures for the benefit of the consumer.

  1. “In order to permit the public as a whole to share in the good fortune of the low-cost, high-profit operator, we recommend that differential taxation shall be applied to differential advantage.”

  2. “To protect the public against unjustified increases in price, we recommend complete publicity of accounts through a federal agency with power to compel reports and prescribe the form of accounts.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Coal Industry
Jun. 17, 2016  Coal Industry's Future
Jun. 24, 2011  Mine Safety
Oct. 05, 2007  Coal's Comeback
Mar. 17, 2006  Coal Mining Safety
Apr. 21, 1978  America's Coal Economy
Oct. 25, 1974  Coal Negotiations
Nov. 19, 1954  Coal in Trouble
Apr. 04, 1952  Coal Supply and European Rearmament
Jan. 22, 1947  Labor Costs and the Future of Coal
Jul. 24, 1935  Stabilization of the Bituminous Coal Industry
Jan. 01, 1929  The Anthracite Coal Situation
Dec. 01, 1928  The Bituminous Coal Situation
Jun. 30, 1927  The Bituminous Coal Strike
Aug. 15, 1925  The Bituminous Coal Problem
Aug. 01, 1925  Strike Emergencies and The President
Jul. 25, 1925  Miners' Wages and the Cost of Anthracite